From Our 2009 Archives
More Than 650,000 Cancer Deaths Avoided
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Decline in Cancer Death Rate Means 650,400 Fewer Cancer Deaths Between 1991-1992 and 2005
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
May 27, 2009 -- The American Cancer Society today announced that 650,400 U.S. cancer deaths were avoided from the early 1990s through 2005.
That news appears in the early online edition of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
The report shows a 19% drop in men's overall cancer death rates between 1990 and 2005 and a decline of about 11% in women's overall cancer death rates between 1991 and 2005.
Those declines reflect a long-term, gradual decline in cancer death rates, which trace back to a drop in certain cancers and better screening and survival for certain cancers.
"A drop of 1% or 2% per year in the cancer mortality rate may sound small, but as this report shows, that adds up," John R. Seffrin, PhD, the American Cancer Society's chief executive officer, says in a news release.
"Because the rate continues to drop, it means that in recent years, about 100,000 people each year who would have died if cancer death rates had not declined are living to celebrate another birthday. That is undeniable evidence of the lifesaving progress that we as a country must dedicate ourselves to continuing," Seffrin says.
Still, cancer remains the top cause of death for people younger than 85 (heart disease is the leading cause of death for all age groups combined).
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 562,340 people will die of cancer in 2009, which is more than 1,500 cancer deaths per day.
Men's Top Cancers
Prostate cancer will remain men's most commonly diagnosed cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
Here is the American Cancer Society's estimate of new cases of cancer among U.S. men in 2009 (not including nonmelanoma skin cancer and in situ (noninvasive) cancers.
Lung cancer is expected to remain men's most common cause of cancer death in 2009, according to the American Cancer Society:
Women's Top Cancers
Breast cancer is expected to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women, but lung cancer will be women's deadliest cancer, the American Cancer Society predicts.
Here are the top 10 cancers that will be diagnosed in 2009, according to the American Cancer Society:
The 10 most common causes of women's cancer deaths for 2009, as estimated by the American Cancer Society, are as follows:
Race, Education Gaps
The decline in cancer death rates has been greater for some groups than for others. Access to cancer screening and medical care is part of the reason for that, notes the American Cancer Society.
People with more education generally had bigger declines in their cancer death rates. And there were racial and ethnic gaps, including these patterns:
The American Cancer Society recommends taking these steps to reduce the chances of developing cancer:
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